Well, there were some gems that came out of Sigma, at least by my tastes:
1. David Bowie "Young Americans" (Sigma Philly, 1974)
2. Wilson Pickett did sessions with Gamble & Huff that resulted in "Engine #9" and re-established
his career (Sigma Philly, 70's)
3. Steely Dan "Goucho" was mixed at Sigma NYC
4. Talking Heads "Remain In Light" partly tracked and mixed at Sigma NYC
5. Talking Heads "Little Creatures" same story
6. David Byrne/Brian Eno "My Life In A Bush of Ghosts" was done at Sigma NYC, using a 24-track to
sync up their instrumentals to found tracks for "lyrics". Very advanced use of the technology for
that time, although it was old hat to the electronic music crowd.
Then there were the endless disco session and thousands of vapid commercials that paid the bills.
That Gamble & Huff stuff is HEAVILY sampled and used by the hip-hop/DJ crowd today. I think "TSOP"
was one of the top-selling singles of the 70's.
When I was an errand boy and tape dubber at Sigma NYC (1981-83 summers), the commercial business was
transitioning away from a squad of crack studio musicians showing up, getting a chart and cutting a
commercial in 3 hours to where one guy showed up with a Synclavier and dumped 8 tracks onto tape and
then a singer showed up and a voice-over guy showed up and they cut a worse commercial but in half
the time. Nowadays, it's a guy at home with a MIDI rig cutting even worse commercials but for a
fraction of the cost. That's a large part of what killed off the big studio business in NY -- the
agencies took most of their production in-house and musicians' union rates got to where no one could
afford big sessions with large ensembles anymore. Plus, the um "talent" pool has gotten very
brackish in recent generations of "musicians."
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marcos Sueiro" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 7:54 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Quarter-inch splicing tabs
> Thanks for the correction --amazing that Sigma Sound was still working until two years ago. Truth
> be told, I was never a big fan of that sound, although it really is a feat of engineering...
> --On Tuesday, March 21, 2006 6:18 PM -0500 Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hi Marcos:
>> It was Joe TarsiA, founder and owner of Sigma Sound Studios. Joe sold
>> Sigma only a couple of years ago. That place was definitely home of the
>> Philly Sound, second home of Gamble and Huff (sp?). Their NYC studio was
>> the birthplace of the Village People, for better or worse (definitely
>> better for Sigma, as all those gold records led to a disco-fueled hot
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Marcos Sueiro" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2006 9:42 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Quarter-inch splicing tabs
>>> I have
>>>> had a couple of opportunities to be a "recording artist" (popular
>>>> music, not classical) and I have found that as soon as musicians
>>>> find out the opportunity for "changes via edit" exists, they
>>>> immediately discover a near-infinite number of "flaws" in their
>>>> solos which need to be corrected!
>>> So true. So goes also with artists who want to change the volume of one
>>> track in the mix by half of one dB, or move one note in a solo by
>>> Perhaps my favourite quote from an ARSC Conference came in Philadelphia
>>> from Joe Tarsio, pivotal engineer for the "philly sound" of the 1970s:
>>> "Remember, automation was supposed to *save* us time!"